With mandated recycling becoming a reality in many states, some businesses are struggling to find enough sorted plastic waste to comply. We’ve written before about these minimum recycled content mandates. As a reminder, these measures require that certain products contain a specified amount of recycled material. While Europe struggles with its limited supply of sorted plastic waste, ensure your business is ready by getting in touch with us today.
The Government-Mandated Recycling Situation in the EU
The EU has seen a decline in the export of waste. One of the reasons for this is China’s “National Sword” policy, which banned the import of most plastics for recycling processors. Before this ban, China recycled nearly half of the world’s recyclable waste. Another reason is the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) recently strengthened controls on the transboundary movements of recoverable wastes. Even though the EU’s recent growth of plastic recycling capacities created 1.1 million metric tons of additional installed capacity in 2020, there has been a decline in the export of plastics for recycling from 3 million metric tons in 2014 to 1 million metric tons in 2021 due to factors like those mentioned above. An estimated 21 million metric tons of plastic waste is still not being collected/sorted and ends up in EU landfills or incinerators.
“The recent EU policy and global developments have boosted massive investments in the plastic recycling capacities on the continent as in 2020 the plastic recycling industry invested €1.5bn which translates into 1.1Mt additional installed capacity when compared to the previous year and a total of €4.9bn of investments since 2017. However, without stable, high-quality input materials, the industry’s efforts to reach the new recycling targets might be hindered. Recyclers in the EU need clean sorted plastic recyclables to fill their capacity, as over 21 million metric tons is mixed with MSW and sent to local incinerators and landfills. Robust sorting and collection infrastructure is necessary to increase stable feedstocks for European recyclers.” – Ton Emans, Plastics Recyclers Europe President.
As always, the goal is to divert waste from landfills and incinerators.
Plastics Recyclers Europe calls for transparent reporting on waste generation, collection and sorting, and we couldn’t agree more. To continue to improve and work towards circular economies, we need plastics to be identified and recycled. Understanding what can be recycled, and the available recycling technologies today for your business is the first step to improving your recycling rates and making material available for the circular economy.
We are here to help as too often there is misinformation, misunderstanding, or realizing simple easy changes can lead to large financial improvements and landfill avoidance. While Europe struggles with its limited supply of sorted plastic waste, ensure your business and our circular economy are ready by getting in touch with us today.